You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.

Michigan's unemployment rate falls below 10% for first time in 3 years

By Nathan Bomey

(See previous story: 'Sustained recovery': U-M economists project Michigan to add 68,700 jobs over next 2 years)

Michigan's unemployment rate fell to 9.8 percent in November, dropping below 10 percent for the first time in three years, according to statistics released today by the state.

The rate dropped from 10.6 percent in October and 11.4 percent in November 2010.


Michigan's retail industry added 4,000 jobs from October to November in the holiday hiring push.

Melanie Maxwell |

The rate's decline reflects gradual job growth and a reduction in the state's workforce, which means residents continue to leave the state or some unemployed workers are giving up on seeking jobs.

The state added a net 1,000 jobs from October to November and 59,000 over the last 12 months.

“Since August, Michigan’s unemployment rate has shown signs of improvement, decreasing by over a full percentage point,” said Rick Waclawek, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, in a statement. “Job growth over the past year has occurred in business services, manufacturing, and health care.”

Still, state analysts said in a news release that the "primary reason" for the decline in Michigan's jobless rate was "fewer unemployed individuals in the state actively seeking employment."

Retailers added 4,000 jobs from October to November, reflecting hiring for the holiday shopping season. But the number of government jobs fell by 2,000.

The U.S. unemployment rate slipped from 9 percent in October to 8.6 percent in November.

Washtenaw County's unemployment rate was 5.7 percent in October, making it the second lowest among Michigan’s 83 counties, according to statistics from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget. The county added 3,600 jobs in October.

The unemployment report comes three weeks after University of Michigan economists projected that the state would add 68,700 jobs in 2012 and 2013, fueling a "sustained recovery" at a "subdued pace."

They projected that the state would add nearly 31,500 jobs in 2012 and 37,200 in 2013 after adding about 64,200 jobs in 2011.

But they predicted that the state's average unemployment rate would stay relatively high, falling from an average of 10.7 percent in 2011 to 10.4 percent in 2012 and 10 percent in 2013.

The manufacturing sector is expected to account for about 27.3 percent of the new jobs over the next two years. The sector, which added 19,000 jobs in 2010 and 25,000 in 2011, is expected to add 21,000 over the next two years.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.



Mon, Jan 16, 2012 : 3:17 p.m.

This just in: I logged into Unemployment for the first time after recently being unemployed. Ironically I worked for Handlylab in Ann Arbor, a company that Rick Snyder was a board member. He was also instrumental in the sale of Handylab to Becton Dickinson located in Baltimore Maryland. I noticed on the bottom of the log-in mage that Rick Snyder has cut unemployment benefits from the standard 26 weeks that it has sat at for more then 40 years, to 20 weeks!!!! I am over joyed at this wonderful governor. This compassionate man this enlightened man. As I sit here and type I am searching for an attorneys number that I have put away. This news as clinched the deal form me. I am going to do a Deed in lieu of foreclosure. Im a fed up and moving out of this horrid state. I have played by all of the rules and have been a good consumer of goods and services in Michigan for 50 years. No more! Michigan and Governor Snyder can rot. Good bye

Pooh Bear

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7:14 p.m.

Sure! Things look better on paper but when $23.00 an hour full-time jobs turn into $8.00 an hour part time jobs people are still having a hard time. Plus getting paid less and driving further take home is far less. I do agree with InsideTheHall- Less government jobs all around would FIX Michigan!

Elaine F. Owsley

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 1:09 p.m.

How many of those jobs are temporary holiday hires?


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 4:04 a.m.

And besides the number of people leaving the state or no longer seeking employment, or those who have run out of unemployment benefits, as stated in the article, the largest block of new jobs is in the manufacturing industry - mostly in the auto industry that President Obama saved over the fierce resistance of the tea drinking republicans.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 3:21 a.m.

From the article: "They projected that the state would add nearly 31,500 jobs in 2012 and 37,200 in 2013 after adding about 64,200 jobs in 2011." In other words, it is expected that the state, in the last year of the "anti-buisness" tax rates, will add more jobs than it will in the next two years combined with the new "business friendly" tax rates. Very Interesting. Good Night and Good Luck

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 12:49 a.m.

Don't have my computer tonight, so this will be brief. You are correct--it is only a prediction. But reports from the UofM's economists have a nationally reknowned reputationfor their accuracy. So we shall see. As for low taxes encouraging economic growth, I guess that explains why 9 of the bottom 13 states in terms of unemployment are low-tax right-to-work states. GN&GL


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7:58 p.m.

Neither of us know the assumptions that went into the model, so drawing conclusions from that model makes little to no sense. Additionally, we don't even know if the model is correct. One could look at the mess Carter left Regan and draw the conclusion that lower taxes spurred the economy, at least that event already happened. Or, we could say that if raising taxes is good, and government jobs are good, we should raise taxes to 100% and have the government employ everyone? Of course that is as stupid as the people that say: 'You drive on government roads don't you?' or they people that say: 'Since you don't like government, we should get rid of it all, right?' All those arguments are absurd and heard almost daily someplace on this board. I don't think anybody is declaring a tax cut a silver bullet. I would say that it is part of a good business environment that includes: low taxes educated/trained workforce good infrastructure good wage structure available real estate etc.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 2:41 p.m.

If cutting tax rates is the silver bullet, there ought be an identifiable change when that policy is implemented. If, after two years, lower tax rates lead to fewer new jobs than the last year of the higher tax rates, reasonable people ought conclude that tax rates have little or nothing to do with job creation. Of course, reasonable people who understand history came to that conclusion long ago. GN&GL


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 4:39 a.m.

.....because cause and effect are instant? and correlation (based off projections), implies causality (or whatever the Greek saying for that is). Or...maybe it ain't that simple? Or as the unemployment rate goes down, it is harder to employ the remaining people?


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 3:48 a.m.

Mr. Edward R. Murrow's Ghost....I love your closing statement. I use it quite often.

Terrin Bell

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 2:48 a.m.

Unemployment numbers are meaningless. They only tell you how many people are receiving unemployment benefits. What they don't tell you is how many are unemployed, but don't received unemployment benefits. As recent news stores have suggest, many people's benefits have run out or will run out. These people don't get included as unemployed.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 2:38 a.m.

Understated workers, the key to the mess we're in and to this illusion, as well as the problem we are facing. There are the discouraged workers and the part time workers. Discouraged workers are people who are willing and able to work, and would gladly accept work, but because they have had no success finding a job they have given up actively seeking employment. To be officially counted as unemployed, a person must be actively seeking work. When the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics)tabulates the official unemployment rate, discouraged workers are placed in the "not in labor force" category. Because they are NOT officially considered to be unemployed and are they NOT considered part of the labor force, then they are NOT included in the official unemployment rate calculation. However, these discouraged workers do, in fact, represent unemployed labor resources. They SHOULD be included in the unemployment rate. Doing so would boost the unemployment rate up. Part-time workers, while they have jobs, and are officially included in the "employed" category when the official unemployment rate is calculated, their labor resources are really only partially unemployed. For example, a person working 20 hours a week, who is willing and able to work 40 hours a week, should be considered as "half employed," but is officially consider only as "employed." This problem results because the official unemployment rate "counts heads" to measure of labor resources, rather than something like "hours." While, ten people working 20 hours a week are the productive equivalent of five people working 40 hours a week and five people working 0 hours per week, they are not equivalent for the unemployment rate. Ten part-time workers generates a lower unemployment rate, than five full-time workers combined with five unemployed workers. Part-time workers SHOULD be included in the unemployment rate. Doing so would raise the unemployment rate by at l


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 10:20 p.m.

Michigan has been in a DEPRESSION for a long time. Layoffs started back in 2001 and the economy never recovered. After loosing population and jobs, Michigan has stated to gain a few jobs but it is going to take a while to get back to "Normal" (4%-5%) unemployment. Its just too bad it took so long!


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 9:26 p.m.

Just another sign that the economy is back from the brink of collapse and is finally growing again!

David Briegel

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 9:17 p.m.

Geez Eyeheart, Everyone knows it's "trickling down" because of Ronnie The First. Or was it those famous Bush tax cuts?


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 9:04 p.m.

Under employed --- unemployed --- ( No longer looking discouraged workers ). Things are getting a little better but the real unemployment figure should be close to 20%.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 8:48 p.m.

Actually eyeheart none of Ricks policies (business tax breaks) have been implemented yet. They start January 2012. I'd also point out the national rate dropped significantly over that same period. Michigan is still 1.2% higher than the nation. So if Rick wants credit for this number, then Obama must get credit for the numbers nationally. Obama CAN actually claim much more credit since he has been in office for a time to implement some of his policies.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 10:09 p.m.

I cannot speak for anyone else, Eyeheart, but you've never seen me bash Bush2 over either the bank or auto bailouts with the sole exception that both he and Obama ought to have attached more strings to the banks' money as they did to the auto bailout. And numerous times in these forums I have provided a link to a study by noted conservative economist John Zandi that concludes Bush and Obama programs saved or created 8 million jobs. So please don't tell me what I think. GN&GL


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7:47 p.m.

Here is an interesting read on the auto industry bailout: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> and another one: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> So, those are one set of &quot;facts&quot;. We can pick and choose the factoids from those that best support Red or Blue, as is usually the case. So, Bush, who is almost universally vilified on this board is the guy who got the ball rolling? But, wait, he was a Republican! Yes, you are correct, the Republicans do get hammered on this to be sure, but the whole red and blue thing tied to this afternoon's news is getting tired. Interesting tie back to the auto industry: What got those companies healthy was "right sizing". The prior level of staffing and benefits was not sustainable. Did this drive up unemployment? A bit, but nothing compared to if they had tried to retain everyone and gone out of business. Chemo sucks, but sometimes it is necessary. Seems like there might be some parallels to our government situation? BTW, I happen to agree with both the auto and wall street bailout. So now what? Everybody is either always right or always wrong around here, right? Guess I have to vote for H. Ross Perot.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 3:42 p.m.

I guess that the actual FACTS are not of interest? The degree to which the State of Michigan is not in a bigger hole than it is is due largely to the president's support of the domestic auto industry, support that Congressional Republicans almost unanimously opposed and which Republican presidential candidates continue to badmouth. But, as the linked article pointed out, expansion in the private sector in the state this last summer was more than offset by layoffs in the public sector, layoffs provoked by the governor's budget. So, yes, facts don't work well for the governor and his supporters. They seldom do. GN&amp;GL


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 4:32 a.m.

I think I get it. When the unemployment rate went up in June, it was Ricks fault, but when it went down in November, it is Obama's. Did I get that right? It's all so confusing, around here, I should just move to the other side of the state. ....but then...some (not none as stated above) of Rick's policies must have been implemented for it to be his fault, in June, correct? Maybe the post above has a problem? So, hmmmm, OK, lets just make this simple for the country's' smartest city.: Bad = Rick Good = Obama Michigan = 27 Virginia Tech = 24 ...or maybe it just isn't as simple as some around here would like to say it is? Correct?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 3:16 a.m.

1) The state budget year runs from Oct. 1 - Sept. 30, but its tax year runs Jan 1 - Dec 31. Hence we are already operating under his first budget. The tax breaks? Not yet. 2) Since you ask, the linked article (no longer available) made clear that most of the increase in the unemployment rate was due to schools and municipal governments laying people off in anticipation of the impending budget cuts from the state. Schools, in particular, are reflected in the July stats since their FYs run from July 1 to June 30. Understand the impact of the guv's budget on the July unemployment rate now? GN&amp;GL


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 1:40 a.m.

As predicted. Now, would you like my bowl picks? BTW, since none of Ricks policies have been implemented yet, I'm surprised you didn't take the Ghost to task for this one: <a href=""></a> So, which is it?


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 8:23 p.m.

If the county added 3,600 jobs since October, please tell me where they are posted? Surely, not on their website. I know from a very good source, 115 people are leaving by the end of the year. Also, people are being hired for seasonal help. Those used to be jobs where people used them to supplement their income for additional spending money for the holidays, not to live off of. So to say those are jobs is a joke, as they are only temporary, and non-benefitted. I often wonder when these statistics come up who pays who to publish those stories just to make things look good when they really aren't.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 9:25 p.m.

They hired &quot;seasonal&quot; workers last year too and the unemployment rate was still above 10%. Clearly the economy IS getting better. I hope that doesn't cause you too much pain.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 7:57 p.m.

Lies, smoke, mirrors....10% of those STILL LOOKING maybe...the real number still stands in the low 20 percentile, if not higher(and climbing).

Smart Logic

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 10:23 p.m.

Cite a source for your claims?


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 7:51 p.m.

Thank you Governor Snyder! The Michigan Miracle showing tangible results. FIX MICHIGAN! LESS GOVERNMENT JOBS!

Rob Pollard

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:54 a.m.

Oh sure, I'm happy we're gaining jobs, but I'm not going to give much credit to Snyder and his policies (which don't go into effect until Jan 1). As you pointed out, jobs are coming from manufacturing (i.e., the Big 3 and related suppliers, which Republicans would have had collapse in Michigan and move to the south w/o the bailout) and health care (I thought that was being eviscerated by ObamaCare)? So while I will be &quot;happy&quot; for the workers (in whatever industry) that found a job, I won't be &quot;happy&quot; for Snyder's success until he shows some. Let's see where we are once the new tax rates kick in. Hopefully, unemployment will continue to go down, and not mainly b/c people give up looking for jobs, but we'll see.

Smart Logic

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 10:22 p.m.

@Rob Pollard: "Job growth over the past year has occurred in business services, manufacturing, and health care." While that may not be the primary reason, as you pointed out, things are moving in the right direction regardless. Lets be happy for someone's successes, shall we?

Rob Pollard

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 9:45 p.m.

Who can we credit for this part of the story: &quot;Still, state analysts said in a news release that the &quot;primary reason&quot; for the decline in Michigan's jobless rate was &quot;fewer unemployed individuals in the state actively seeking employment.&quot; What &quot;miracle&quot; is causing people to essentially give up and not even look for work, which causes the unemployment rate to go down?


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 7:48 p.m.

Just so we are all clear on this: When unemployment goes up, it is due to Rick and his failed policies. When it goes down. It is due to Obama and his stimulas or Jenny and what she put in place prior to departing. Now, please proceed......

Smart Logic

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 10:21 p.m.

Well stated!